Safe to say that I am ecstatic about this post. As of late, I’ve been doing some personal inner work, really digging deeper, self-educating and remediating my views and the lens of which I see people, things, platforms, success, health & wellness, etc. In honour of International Women’s Day (or International Women’s Week here on Lyan Writes!), I wanted to kick things off with a conversation I had with someone who advocates for being real and showcases her authentic self in a pretty fake world.
I sat down with Lauren McPhillips, also known as This Renegade Love! I came across Lauren’s platforms not too long ago, and was instantly drawn to how conversational she was with her content - something pretty hard to achieve. How do you get personal via your laptop screen?
Lauren is SUCH a gem. Our conversation lasted way longer than planned, only because she’s that easy and fun to talk to. She’s exactly the same in real life as she is online and I took away some awesome learnings from her.
Let’s dive right in.
OK, This Renegade Love? Anything is Possible? Tell me more about your brand, what it means, the ideation…
I moved up quickly in my career at a young age, was given a ton of awesome opportunities, and I got to work with some great companies surrounded by great people. I was in the right place at the right time, taking risks. I also had an amazing support system, which I think is integral and really helped in setting me up for success. I got to live in London, UK and worked in PR & Brand Partnerships for a travel company. It was great and all, but I really missed the creative side of things. When I turned 30, the creative itch was really kicking in and I was hit with the realization of “If I don’t do this now, I never will”. I took a leap, I moved back to Toronto where I had my support system, and I launched This Renegade Love the week I got back!
Was this all tied to the fact that you turned 30?
I actually LOVE being in my 30’s. For me, it was that I moved overseas for my job. I didn’t really enjoy it but I was scared to quit because of all the expectations that I built in my head. Getting over that mindset of “who cares what other people think?” took some time, but it’s how I gained up the courage to quit and do something I really want to do. Working with influencers was great, I worked with Lilly Singh (SuperWoman), we got to travel together and she’s awesome. BUT, there are people out there that really aren’t the same in person as they are on social. I noticed there was a gap in content being put out there because there was a big celebrity culture but not many talking about entrepreneurship for just regular people, like you and I. Talk to me about the struggles. Tell me how you financially did it. Tell me the stuff I really want to know.
What does This Renegade Love mean? How’d you come up with the title?
When I first started my blog, I had this idea that it will feature these people who started their own businesses, travelled the world, went against the status quo… but I had a really hard time thinking of a name. I was listening to this song called “Summertime” by Rural Alberta Advantage and in it, it said “when we’re middle aged, you’ll tell me that I loved you like a renegade”. I knew right away, that this was it. I wanted to talk about change-makers, people who took risks to do what they love.
A person who behaves in a rebelliously unconventional manner.
What’s coming up this year for This Renegade Love?
I’m going to be launching a podcast later this year. I love podcasts and listen to SO many. I’ve been wanting to start my podcast for a while now, but had to hold it off for other projects.
I’m also going through a rebrand at the moment. I’m moving away from the ‘influencer’ space. My blog will become a site with e-courses, mastermind sessions for female entrepreneurs, a book club, consulting and then my podcast! The rebrand is meant to focus on entrepreneurship, but cracking down on the fact that people always talk about the #HUSTLE, but you can’t have the hustle without the wellness part of it. Taking care of your mental health, making sure you have a well-balanced life, focusing on how to be an entrepreneur but without sacrificing your health.
Why do you want to move away from the influencer space?
I’m honestly past it. I’m moving away from the influencer space as we know it. When people think of an influencer, it’s someone who works with brands and influences buying decisions, and I don’t want my content to only be about that. You also don’t get to create the same way when you work with brands, there’s this pressure that comes along with it. I still want to influence people but with the stuff that I want to talk about. I find that the people who tend to be the most influential are the ones who haven’t necessarily set out to be an influencer. They’re just influential by means of what they talk about and share.
What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
Easy. The community by far. It doesn’t matter to me how many followers I have. I actually don’t want to have a million followers because then you lose that sense of community. The fact that I can post something and people have conversations with each other in the comments is a blessing. I am so fortunate to have a job where I can talk about anything I’m passionate about and bring people together. We can spread ideas, make people feel comfortable in being open and sharing themselves in a safe space. This is the most rewarding thing ever.
We all have those #InstagramPerfect moments. But, let’s be real. What do you do on your bad days?
I cry it out, get it out of my system, talk to a friend, take a shower. But my best tip is to log out of social media. Not close the app, actually log out of your account, it really makes a difference. When you get that urge to scroll again, you’ll get prompted to log in, which will make you rethink and pause for a second. We don’t realize how toxic all the information we consume on social can be. It’s all subconscious, you don’t realize how much those negative thoughts get into your head.
Walk me through your self-care routine.
Log out of social media
Spend time with family
Bath, wine, good book
What’re you reading right now?
Right now, I’m finishing Becoming by Michelle Obama - it’s really good! I’m about to dive into a book called “Scarborough”. I’m really interested in local writers and books about Toronto, but also diverse voices and stories that haven’t been told before. I also love listening to podcasts.
What’re your favourite podcasts?
I love Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays!! I also listen to Couple’s Therapy with Candice and Casey. I love that one, they’re hilarious and they basically talk about their relationship. You feel like a fly on the wall.
Do you have a mentor?
I was really lucky because my first job was at Style at Home magazine, and I got 2 mentors - the web editor and the executive editor. I was really young, fresh out of university, no idea what I was doing. The executive editor was so nice to me, took me under her wing, and taught me so much about the business side of things. The web editor became my really good friend. She guided me but also let me do my own thing. She let me be independent. Those were two really good mentors that influenced and guided me.
Now, I have support groups not mentors. My biggest support group are other female entrepreneurs. They don’t need to be doing what I’m doing. I actually find it beneficial when they don’t do what I do because they offer solutions to things that are outside of the box that I might not have thought about. My friend, Amanda Mizen, who was in one of my Renegade sessions has been a huge support recently as I transition into more of a business. I’ve learned so much from her, she owns a medical spa called North Medical, and a bakery - Desmond and Beatrice. She’s a serial entrepreneur and does business consulting as well.
On the note of #IWD, why is women empowerment important to you?
Women empowerment is important because as women, we recognize the importance of giving rise to voices for other women who don’t have that voice in a way that sometimes I feel is overlooked by men. I don’t find that other women can be my competition. All the women I’ve worked with have always been so supportive, no intention of breaking each other down. Having those support systems is integral.
What are your thoughts on #IWD? Is this a good thing? Or should we be celebrated all year-round and not have this one day a year thing?
For me, it’s more about highlighting the women that DON’T have a voice. Really sharing those stories that aren’t told. That’s what’s important to me. Let’s talk about the struggles that many women go through today, especially those that don’t live in the western side of the world. Let’s shine light that there is so much work to be done for women around the world and that not everyone is as privileged as we are.
Any powerful women you look up to?
My grandma. She is a battle axe of a woman. She’s 92 and is just a powerhouse. She still volunteers at the hospital in ER. She takes care of people, above herself. She was part of the police force, despite that they were all men there. Hadn't ever gone to school, but has just had such a full life and has never been resistant to change. She rolls with the punches, handles what is given to them and never complains about anything. I just think… that’s exactly what I want to be like. She’s awesome, and will talk to anybody.
Any female brands you love that you want to shout out?
Knix. Everything they do for women is great. They open up the conversation about menstruation and body positivity. They’re Toronto-based too!
“Honour the space between no longer and not yet” - Nancy Levin
“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you” - Rupi Kaur
What's some advice you can share for people who want to start something, but are doubtful and want to do something authentic in a fake world?
Your voice and your story is the most powerful and most valuable thing that you own. It is unique to you, and only you. Nobody else has it!
People always ask me how I stay authentic, and present my real self online. The thing is, if I stay myself online as I am in real life, I’ll never get caught out for not being that person. I never have to switch. It just becomes natural. The more that you do it, you’ll attract people that are genuinely interested in you. You get people who are there for the long run.
Also, don’t overthink it!
Alright! We’re at the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Lauren. She’s truly an awesome person, and I learned so much from her.
You can find her on Instagram at @thisrenegadelove.